Israel: Making Your Life Better
Imagine your physician tells you that you need an operation. You mentally prepare for everything surgery involves: pain, potential infection, a hospital stay, and recovery time. Then your surgeon says your operation will require no incision and leave no scar, and you can go home when it’s over.
You’re probably thinking, Where do I sign up?
Well, you’d have to be in Israel to sign up. Thanks to InSightec, an Israeli company that specializes in focused ultrasound technology, there is now a surgical instrument called ExAblate that provides noninvasive treatment for some conditions that previously required traditional surgery.
A number of years ago, InSightec compiled a team primarily from the prestigious Technion, Israel’s world-renowned technology institute, to create ExAblate, which uses focused ultrasound technology and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to treat problems like uterine ﬁbroids that reportedly aﬀect one in four women.1
According to InSightec, a hysterectomy requiring six to eight weeks of recovery was among the few treatments available for uterine ﬁbroids. ExAblate not only eliminates the ﬁbroids but also preserves fertility for women who want to have more children. ExAblate is also being used to treat bone cancer and bone pain commonly associated with cancer and is undergoing trials for treating prostate and breast cancer.
To people who know a lot about Israel, an Israeli innovation that makes life better probably comes as no surprise. They understand Israel is not an ordinary country.
When the early Jewish pioneers envisioned a future Jewish state, they didn’t want simply another nation on the map. They had a unique vision and purpose that would deﬁne Israel, setting it apart from the rest of the world.
Their purpose can be summed up in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “a light to the Gentiles [nations]” (Isa. 49:6). They believed they could fashion a state that looked outward, helping others in need, not merely themselves.
The vision of the early Zionists (those who believe Jewish people have a right to exist in their ancient homeland) has come to fruition in many ways. Modern Israel is a bright light when it comes to technology and medical innovation.
Robert Woo told CBS News, “I didn’t think I could be useful, and I wanted to die. And the worst thing is I couldn’t even pull the plug.”2 Woo was a 39-year-old architect working on the Goldman Sachs building in New York City in 2007 when he suddenly found himself buried under seven tons of steel that fell 30 stories onto his construction-site trailer. Doctors told him he would never walk again. Crushed again by the weight of the news, Woo thought, How could I put my family through this?3
A few years later, Woo was researching online technologies to help him break free from his wheelchair when he came across ReWalk.
ReWalk is a robotic exoskeleton invented by Dr. Amit Goﬀer, an Israeli quadriplegic who believed there was a better, more natural way to move than with a wheelchair.
The ReWalk exoskeleton functions like a robot frame that is ﬁtted to someone who has lost the ability to use his legs. Its motors provide movement in place of muscles, allowing a paraplegic to stand up and walk.
This new Israeli technology is not only changing the way some people with paralysis engage with the world around them, but it’s also giving them a new sense of purpose. Woo told CBS News, “To be able to stand up next to my wife and give her a hug for the ﬁrst time. To be able to walk with my children to the park, these are things that we take for granted that I missed.”4
The ReWalk also has additional health beneﬁts. Often paralysis can lead to heart disease and diabetes. The ReWalk helps paraplegics exercise more, which lowers blood pressure and reduces fat.
Sadly, Dr. Goﬀer, who sought to make life better for others, cannot use his own technology. It works only for paraplegics, not quadriplegics. The ReWalk still requires the use of one’s arms.
Goﬀer told another interviewer, “Once I speak with the ReWalk users and their families, I mean the reward is so fantastic, I cannot be frustrated. But we are working on another device that will help people like me.”5
Slowing the Effects of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s and dementia plague 35 million people globally.6 Chances are you know someone who suﬀers from this mind-altering disease. Although there is no cure, science is making advances to help prevent dementia from taking over the mind completely.
Prof. Emeritus Marta Weinstock-Rosin of Hebrew University in Jerusalem is on the cutting edge of the ﬁght against Alzheimer’s. A Holocaust survivor, she recently won the Israel Prize for Medicine for developing Exelon, a “blockbuster” drug that comes in the form of a pill or patch and helps slow dementia associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.7
The Times of Israel called Exelon “one of the most important drugs to have emerged from Israeli medical research labs in recent years.”8
It is currently helping millions of people worldwide enjoy better lives despite Alzheimer’s.
The True Light to the Nations
As Christians know, only God can take what is broken and ﬁx it. The stain of sin has corrupted, damaged, and aﬄicted all of God’s creation. To heal us spiritually, God gave us His Son so that through faith in Him, we can have hope, help, and spiritual life.
When Isaiah prophesied of “a light to the Gentiles,” he had Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, in mind. Until He rules as King of kings in perfect righteousness from Jerusalem, we will continue to suffer from corruption and disease.
However, God is using the little country of Israel to improve the wellbeing of millions around the world with new and innovative medical advancements, allowing us to live longer, healthier lives.
- “ExAblate OR—The operating room of the future” <insightec.com/ExAblate-Operation-Room-Future.html>.
- Ryan Jaslow, “Paralyzed patients hope ReWalk exoskeleton gets approved by FDA,” CBS News, March 4, 2014 <tinyurl.com/re-walkk>.
- Mary Tindall, “Paraplegics closer to regaining mobility with ReWalk Robotics,” fromthegrapevine.com, September 15, 2014 <tinyurl.com/mbm4g47>.
- Rachel Crane, “ReWalk makes miracles possible,” CNNMoney, December 8, 2014 <tinyurl.com/ladd6j4>.
- “Alzheimer’s Association commends recognition of Alzheimer’s and dementia as global health threat,” Alzheimer’s Association, alz.org, April 11, 2012 <tinyurl.com/allzzd>.
- Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, “Israel Prize for researcher who developed drug to slow dementia,” The Jerusalem Post, March 2, 2014 <tinyurl.com/nrlk9pl>.
- David Shamah, “Alzheimer drug pioneer to get Israel Prize,” The Times of Israel, March 4, 2014 <tinyurl.com/ow4nh2g >.